When Bill Wyman first went to rehearse with the Rolling Stones in December 1962 he arrived with his homemade bass, two amps and big bass cabinet. He gave the band the kind of sound they were looking for – more powerful, more electric and his spare amp did not go amiss. For the next thirty-one years Bill became one half of rock’s most reliable and rock solid rhythm sections.
Born William George Perks on Saturday 24 October 1936 at Lewisham Hospital in South East London, he later changed his surname to Wyman, the name of a friend, in the early days of the Stones. His wartime childhood was unremarkable other than the fact that he was evacuated twice. Like Brian and Mick he went to grammar school but unlike the rest of the Stones he also did three years of National Service, joining the RAF, during which time he served in Germany from 1955.
Being introduced to rock ‘n’ roll through American Forces Radio in Germany he heard Elvis, Jerry Lee and the others who changed the face of popular music earlier than most people in Britain. Returning to southeast London and civilian life he got a job as a storekeeper and also formed a band whose drummer got the job of drumming with the Rolling Stones in the summer of 1962. This led to Bill being introduced to Mick, Keith, Brian and Ian Stewart and as often been repeated, “he brought electricity to the Stones.”
Always a lover of rock ‘n’ roll Bill quickly learned to love the blues and true to character, he has said he would love to have been an archivist in a museum, he set about studying the blues and became an avid record collector and information.